It took me a day or two to see it, but after the building collapse, which happened within a couple of kilometres of my home and right near an old office of mine, Facebook did indeed turn on its Safety Check system for anyone marked as being in Tel Aviv.
You can access it via this link which reports my status. I’m fine. Obviously.
This feature was invented and developed in Israel for Facebook and there has been some criticism that it wasn’t used after the shooting in Sarona Market or any other terror attacks in Israel. It was turned on in Paris after the massive attacks of November 14.
From earthquakes to typhoons and now terror attacks
Safe Check was released in October 2014 and was offered by Facebook following the December 2014 Typhoon Ruby in the Philippines, the May 2015 earthquake in Nepal, the September 2015 earthquake in Chile and the October 2015 earthquake in Afghanistan and hurricane in the Pacific.
Paris marked the first time Safety Check was activated following a terror attack, and Facebook has pledged to continue using it for manmade disasters.
Facebook Growth VP Alex Schultz said in a statement: “We chose to activate Safety Check in Paris because we observed a lot of activity on Facebook as the events were unfolding. In the middle of a complex, uncertain situation affecting many people, Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones. … We want this tool to be available whenever and wherever it can help.”
It took a few days before I was “asked” by someone else if I was safe. Unless I specifically missed something obvious, I wasn’t asked by Facebook to check in as safe. I hadn’t even thought it would be considered for use and I’ve not seen mention of it elsewhere!
Perhaps it didn’t occur to me because the place where the disaster happened was a “closed” construction site rather than a publicly accessible structure, but I guess that wasn’t immediately obvious.
Nevertheless I’m pleased it was used here and while I hope it isn’t needed, we know it can be used again in the future.